The St. Louis Blues were awful in the beginning of the season to say the least.
The team was not winning hockey games, were having trouble putting the puck in the net, and were getting awful goaltending from starting netminder Jake Allen. Like last season, it appeared that the team would end up missing the playoffs because of their inconsistent play between the pipes.
Unlike last season, however, the Blues found a way to stop the bleeding in goal this season at the right time. Heck, not only did the Blues heal the bruise, they pretty much made their goalie wounds non-existent and unearthed a gem that has this team in a playoff spot, something that seemed unrealistic earlier in the year.
This gem goes by the name of Jordan Binnington. Binnington, 25, has been everything and more for this hockey club and has been the main reason why the Blues are now being considered contenders in what is a very competitive Western Conference.
As of this writing, the rookie masked man is 21-4-1 with a 1.80 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage, and five shutouts. Yes, these are real stats coming from a real Blues’ goaltender.
There are several reasons why Binnington has been this team’s savior this season. For starters, all he does is win hockey games.
The team currently has 41 wins. The fact that Binnington has 21 of them is amazing because he has played in just 28 games this season. It would have been interesting to see what his win total would be if he started the season with the club.
This season, Binnington has been the goaltender that gives this team the best chance to win. The team has been in every game that he has started due to his strong play and because of it, they usually end up winning the hockey game more often than not.
A good example of this is his play in his last five games. Not only did he win all five of these tilts, but during that stretch he allowed just nine goals on 147 shots.
For the Blues, these were all important wins. They also beat some good teams during this stretch including the Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The teams mentioned above are all playoff teams. As such, Binnington showed that he could play well against elite teams and teams that are serious Cup contenders.
What’s also been impressive about Binnington is his confidence. He has played just 29 NHL games, but when he’s in net, he plays like a veteran.
Binnington is a goaltender who takes up a lot of the net, knows how to challenge shooters, controls his rebounds, and is great at finding pucks in traffic. He is also someone that keeps his moves simple and does not get caught out of position.
Lastly, Binnington has been the team’s savior this season. When the team was struggling in all areas of the game, especially between the pipes, Binnington came in and single-handedly saved the team’s season.
Now, there is going to be a lot of pressure placed on his shoulders come playoff time. Sure, he’s had a terrific regular season up to this point, but what can he do come playoff time?
If Binnington can play the way he is now in the postseason, the Blues will have as good a chance as any team to make a lot of noise come April.
The Globe & Mail